After the birth (postnatal care)
As soon as your baby is born, we carry out all the necessary checks and assessments. Most babies are healthy and do not need specialist care.
We do a full newborn examination between 4 hours and 48 hours after your baby’s birth. This gives your baby time to adjust to the outside world and allows us to give immediate medical attention in the unlikely event of any problems.
When can I go home?
If you have a very straightforward birth, you may be able to go home within 6 hours of birth. You’ll need to stay in the birthing room with your birthing partner until we discharge you. Sometimes we recommend continuing your care on our postnatal ward.
You may need to stay longer if you’ve had a cesarean or assisted birth (up to 48 hours).
If you gave birth at home, the midwife will stay with you until she’s confident that you and your baby are both well. The midwife will examine the baby and then make arrangements for your ongoing care.
What if I need to stay in hospital?
We’ll transfer you to Rothschild Ward. When you arrive, we’ll help you get settled, review your hospital notes and help you to feel comfortable.
Our midwives, maternity care assistants, and nursery nurses will look after you and your baby. They’ll do daily checks and support you with:
- your feelings and needs
- feeding your baby
- your physical recovery
- your baby’s wellbeing and feeding patterns
- practical baby care skills, such as nappy changing and winding.
We serve hot lunches around 12pm daily with a light meal at around 5pm. Tell a member of staff if you have any specific dietary requirements.
You can help yourself to drinks from the self-service machine at any time.
What if my baby needs specialist care?
We’ll transfer your baby to our neonatal unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
The unit provides intensive and high dependency care to vulnerable babies including those who:
- need help with their breathing
- were born before 35 weeks.
If your baby is born before 27 weeks or needs specialist treatment, we’ll transfer them to a larger specialist neonatal unit at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
What happens when I’m discharged?
Before going home, we’ll check that you know where you’ll get your ongoing midwifery care. We’ll also make sure you have any relevant phone numbers.
- tell you how to register your baby’s birth
- give you a copy of your baby’s unique national health number
- tell your community midwives that’re coming home and when you can expect a visit
- tell your GP and health visitor about the birth of your baby
- If you’re travelling home by car you’ll need to bring a suitable car seat for your baby.
What happens after me and my baby leave hospital?
The community midwife may visit you the day after you get home from hospital between 8.30am and 5.30pm or, they might phone you to see if you need a visit. Unfortunately they can’t give you a specific time as they won’t know about their other commitments until the day of the visit.
If you need to go out, call the community midwives office to let them know.
If your named community midwife isn’t working, another member of the team will come and see you. After this initial contact, they’ll discuss with you your next appointment, normally held at a postnatal clinic.
On day 5, your midwife will weigh your baby and offer a blood spot test.
Newborn blood spot screening identifies babies who may have rare but serious conditions. All babies are screened for 6 inherited metabolic disorders.
The midwife will prick the heel of your baby using a special device to collect some drops of blood onto a card. The sample will be sent to the lab for testing and the results of the tests will be sent to your health visitor and GP.
On day 10, your community midwife will weigh your baby and hand over your care to a health visitor. Call your GP for contact details for your linked health visitor. Your midwife may continue to see you if you need extra support.
At each visit your midwife will talk to you about any physical or emotional problems or if you have any concerns with the baby. She’ll treat any concerns or refer you to someone who can help.
Maternity support workers may do some visits, especially if you need extra support with feeding your baby.
If you need a postnatal appointment or have a query between the routine visits/appointments, call the community midwives office or phone the labour ward out of hours.
Looking after yourself at home
Adjusting to life with your new baby can be challenging. It’s important that you set realistic expectations, nurture relationships with your family and friends and talk about anything that may be bothering you. Having access to a support network will help guide you through the first few weeks and beyond.
Support for you and your family
Your health visitor provides support for you, your baby and your family. They can help with things like:
- advice on your child’s growth and development
- infant feeding
- parenting support for parents and carers
- local support networks, for example, antenatal and postnatal classes, fathers groups, toddler groups
- support for single parents
- early detection of ill health
- advice on healthy eating and health promotion, for example, stop smoking services.
Support for your emotional wellbeing
Your health visitor will also listen and direct you and your family to specialised help for problems such as:
- ante and postnatal depression
- a recent bereavement or serious illness in the family
- an unhappy or violent relationship
- family conflict
- settling into a new culture for families who have recently arrived from abroad.
Community midwives office
01296 316120 (Aylesbury)
01494 425172 (Wycombe)
Labour ward (out of hours)